The Definitive Guide to Managing Your B2B Sales Agency

by Lee Gladish in June 16th, 2021

Introduction

The following guide is meant for agency owners that have a few clients. In this stage of their business they are either managing those clients themselves or gave a very small team.

The purpose of this guide is highlight various operational processes an agency owner can implement. This will help them get a better grasp of managing their agency/business.

Client Management

Whether you are an agency owner or a freelancer, managing your clients can be stressful if you don’t have a good process. You need to keep track of projects, invoices, maintain contact with the client and make sure they're happy with your work.

Maintaining a positive relationship with your clients is key and in this section, we go deep into client management.

Onboarding & Kick-Off call

The onboarding process is one of the most critical functions for your agency and helps you to get a strong start to your campaigns.

As part of the process, you’ll be welcoming and introducing new clients into your business, addressing their questions and concerns, and ensuring that the client achieves their desired outcome.

Read our in-depth article on how agencies should onboard clients here.

Onboarding Questionnaire

The onboarding questionnaire will be used to gain clarity on the specific client requirements and ensure.

The survey-style document will include a set of specific questions to reveal the client’s purpose for using your business.

woman using MacBook

Ongoing communication

Consistent communication with your clients and providing them with updates regularly is extremely important to maintain client relationships & satisfaction. Additionally, this puts the client at ease and makes you appear more professional and in control of the outreach process.

There are 4 key channels that you’ll be using for client communications:

E-mail

For major updates in your process, updates about the team, changes in schedule, client appreciation emails, etc. especially when more than 2 people need to be notified.

Zoom/Google Hangouts

For weekly recurring calls between you/your account Manager and client to go over the experiments done on the week and plan for next steps.

Client Channel- Communication & Notifications

As part of onboarding, your agency account manager and operations in charge get added to the clients’ Slack channel. This will be used for quick communications, questions, revisions on copy, updates, and verifications.

Client Notifications channel 

Connect your email responses to this channel to help both the client and your account manager get notified every time there’s a response to your outreach campaign.

Run Experiments, Document, & Share your learnings

Document everything from your tests, consolidate all data and learnings into one document that shows what worked, what didn’t work, and an overall summary and explanation of why. Note each step, change, and optimization made at each level for a full accounting on each experiment and easy to understand reference document. 

Summarize the experiments ran every week and the key takeaways for the account manager to communicate with the client on the weekly recurring call. 

Optimizing your campaigns in a Data-Driven Way

As we covered in through cold email marketing can be a great way to gather data around your prospects, value props, and messaging.

Experimentation is the foundation of a successful outreach process and keeping track of the right metrics will give you an insight into what’s working, prioritize areas for optimization, and iterate for consistent growth.

man sitting in front of the MacBook Pro

In this section, we cover the 3 key metrics you need to be covering throughout your campaigns. 

1. Open Rate

Open Rate =  Percentage of people that open your email/ Total number of emails sent

If your open rates are below 30%:

  • Have you set up DKIM, DMARC, and SPF for each of your outreach domain 
  • Have you warmed up your inboxes? If your warmup scores are low, reduce your send rate or pause outreach till inbox health is back up.
  • Is your prospect list cleaned with valid emails
  • Are you hitting the right prospect
  • Check your subject line. Experiment with different subject lines. A good variant is to include the prospect's First Name and/or Company Name in the subject line.

To further improve your open rate:

  • Keep your subject line short and avoid using spammy words. Think of how you would contact someone you know personally with this email.
  • Experiment with different send times for your emails while setting up your sequence 
  • Write a good first sentence of your email. Prospects can see the first line of your email when it lands in the inbox. Your intro sentence could impact your open rates heavily.
  • Have follow-up emails! (<---link to “follow up) When you send your first email, it may slip through the cracks in a cluttered inbox. That’s why you should be persistent and use your follow-up emails to catch the prospects' attention.

2. Reply Rate 

Reply Rate =  Percentage of people that replied to your email/ Total number of emails sent

Here is a list of things to take into consideration to improve your reply rates:

  • Write a short and concise email. People have short attention spans when it comes to emails. Keep your message short and clear to increase the chances of getting a reply.
  • Personalize your approach as much as possible. Personalize your emails with the use of powerful dynamic fields such as first names, job titles, locations, etc. You can also mention news or recent achievements.
  • Avoid features, add value propositions. When you craft your cold email campaigns, put yourself in your prospects’ shoes. Avoid enumerating your product’s features, and focus on presenting a solution to a pain point they might be struggling with.
  • Add a clear call to action. The main goal of cold email outreach is to generate as many opportunities as possible. Be very clear with your ask and where you would like to take the conversation. Writing good calls to action is of utmost importance, you can learn more here: Learn here how to write catchy and clear calls to action.

3. Conversion Rate 

The conversion rate measures the percentage of people that are converted to a given goal (i.e., signing up for your product, scheduling an appointment with you). The main goal when sending cold emails is to turn cold leads into warm ones and ultimately sales! You should aim at 10-20% of replies which is normal among other similar campaigns. It's a good benchmark, but if you're offering something free like a demo or trial then it might be even higher than this number.

The conversion rates are a combination of everything mentioned above: Prospecting, Value Proposition, Personalization, Follow-ups, Subject line, Call to action, Reminders. In a nutshell, you need to make sure you have targeted campaigns, with relevant content and good calls to action.

Managing Your Agency’s Capacity

Understand where your time is going (prospecting vs. managing clients vs. client execution)

Know who is doing what

Managing your agency’s capacity is an important step for success. Without understanding the time that goes into prospecting versus client management and execution, it can be difficult to know where to allocate more resources or even have benchmarks on how much time each team member should spend on different activities.

You need to be able to get data on how much time is spent on:

  • Client management- Time spent by your account manager on client meetings, onboarding, going through reporting, etc.
  • Client Execution- Operation tasks, setting up campaigns, managing VAs, building a list of prospects, etc.
  • Prospecting- How much time does it take for you to go from identifying a list of prospects to close a sale? What are the different steps involved? How much time and man-hours are spent on each task? 

Understanding the time spent on each of the tasks and systemizing wherever possible(niche down your service or process if needed) will help you understand when you can scale, capacity, and the time it will take you to get a new client in the scenario a client churns.

Recommendation: Toggl is a great tool to track time. It’s free for up to five people and has a lot of great features that can help you understand where your team is spending their day, how much they are working on different tasks.